Careers advice has been reduced in more than eight out of 10 schools in England in the past year according to a survey of 1,500 advisers working in secondary schools.

Schools took over the duty to secure independent careers guidance for their pupils from September 2011 but the Careers England board believe there has been a"dramatic reduction" in the amount of professional careers guidance on offer for the current academic year.

Chairman of the Careers England board Steve Stewart said: "Schools have been let down by the Department for Education, poorly prepared for the transition to their new role.

"And to expect more and better careers guidance for students, when schools have not a penny more for the new duty is not delegation of the duty to schools - it is abdication of by the Department for Education. This survey tells us bluntly that too much has been left to chance."

Careers England research was undertaken because of widespread fears about the impact of the change brought about by the Education Act 2011 in England. Previously local authorities provided careers services to schools mainly through local Connexions Service.

However, since the service has gone back into schools the level of careers advice has been maintained in only 16.5% of the 1,568 schools that Careers England monitored.

The report also suggested some schools are unable to afford to provide the same levels of careers guidance.

A Department for Education spokesperson said: "Young people need good quality careers advice - but the sad fact is that too much provision has been poor quality and patchy.

"We have introduced a new legal duty on schools to secure independent and impartial careers guidance for their pupils.

"They know their students best, so it is right that they should decide what provision is right for them and that they have complete control over their budgets to buy in the support they need."

The findings of the survey have been submitted to the Commons Education Select Committee which is holding an inquiry into careers guidance for young people and will return its findings by the end of the year.

Posted 26/11/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com